Looking around Mayrhofen, the start town for Stage 1 of the BIKE TransAlp, it’s obvious that this is the real deal.
Between the sight of the big mountain that surrounds the town and the appearance of some 1,000 riders … well, let’s just say we have been struck with some pre-race “anticipation.”
Getting out on the bikes for a bit of a pre-ride helped settle the nerves and wake up the legs.
We set out for a short ride — about a quarter of the first climb of the first stage — and it’s safe to say that it is big. But the scenery was magnificent and we stopped many times to take pictures.
The route took us through many short tunnels or half tunnels which was a little disconcerting.
On the way back I took a wrong turn which sent us down a ripping fast tunnel that went directly through the mountain. There was no turning back because it was dark, narrow and there was traffic. I was hopeful that it would let us out in the same valley and we wouldn’t end up somewhere else.
It all worked out.
Now that we here and think we have grip on the logistics, Dan and I are ready to get up and get over the first two mountains.
Spending the time to adjust to the 8-hour time difference has certainly been worth it. After 27 hours of travel (which went incredibly well ) Dan and I have had a great time seeing the sights, and taking in the food and beverage of choice in Bavaria.
Getting to meet and spend time with some of my distant relatives has been an extra bonus.
The travel and timing of the logistical part of getting us to the starting line has been amazing — and has also had its share of micro-adventures; starting with nearly running out of gas on the way to the airport in Denver.
We hit the ground running once we arrived in Frankfurt. After getting through customs, the time was ticking to get our bikes out of their travel cases and get them built. The process of building the bikes was particularly fun because large groups of people kept staring and turning their head as they walked by.
We had to ask for help numerous times to figure out how to get a train from the airport to the main station, but people were very helpful and we made it with enough time to grab a sandwich.
Dan and I were like zombies on the train to Munich; got in a quick nap which seemed to revive us.
Our meal times were off and by the time we hit the Munich Main Station we were very hungry. With 10 minutes to find the train we grabbed a pretzel and a beer.
We forgot to get train tickets.
The train officer was very serious, but very nice. He could have fined us us a €60 and kicked us off the train. Instead he charged us a premium fee for the ticket, and didn’t charge us for our bikes.
My distant cousin, Birgit and her husband Robert were at Tutzing station when we arrived. They were warm and welcoming, and took us to a wonderful vantage point to see the amazing view of their beautiful town. When we went to their home, her mother (my Dad’s first cousin) and their three daughters were there to welcome us and we all sat down for a traditional dinner of breads, meats, and cheeses.
I really didn’t go into this experience of meeting a distant relative with any expectations, but I can say that it was much more meaningful that I could have imagined.
Birgit and Robert helped us with a ride plan so we could explore Munich the next day and after of day of exploring took us to an open house at the school where Birgit teaches English and Spanish.
As we were walking around, Dan and I thought we saw a student walking around drinking beer. Surely not.
Turns out one of the student groups had done their project on brewing beer.
They did a great job of presenting in their non-native language and sold both Dan and me a beer.
After a great “family” dinner and looking at logistics for the next day, Birgit and Robert decided the best option to get us to Mayrhofen was for Robert to drive us.
Robert ferried us up the mountain, helped us get registered and find our hotel. His graciousness was very much appreciated; and after talking with some Irish guys during our pre-ride I think we would have a had a very long and difficult day had we tried to make the journey another way.
So we’re all set.
After looking at the start of the course, I think this is going to be more of a road race — but we kind of knew that coming in. I very well might win the award for bike with the most travel.
Now it’s time to top off the tank with more good food, and decide on what lube to use.
Follow #elevatephwtransalp on social media for updates during the 7-stage TransAlp through Sunday, July 22.